Helpful Links

August 26th, 2010

Here at Canton Middle, we’ve embraced technology and are using it in and out of our classrooms all the time. Keeping up with all the different online classrooms, though, can be a bit tricky.

Over on the side of this blog in the “blogroll,” you can find links to the various places you might need in the course of our year.

Blogs, wikis, moodles, tech tools… Everything you might need in our Language Arts class will be listed and linked right there.

If you need a link to something I’ve overlooked, just email me and I’ll post it as soon as I can.

Welcome to the Eighth Grade!

August 19th, 2010

Welcome everyone!

Glad you found your way over to my blog here in the Eighth Grade at Canton Middle School. I’ll be posting updates and announcements here on a weekly basis.

Lockers and Agendas

We’ll be handing out agendas and lockers on Monday. Agendas are $6 and lockers are $2. If you’re writing a check, please make it out to Canton Middle School. We often will not be able to make change, so exact amounts are greatly appreciated.


There are a couple things you should know as we start the year. The primary homework I assign is reading. Research shows (both my research and others’ as well) that students who read at least 30 minutes a night are more likely to be successful in school. Starting Monday, August 23, all my eighth graders should be reading every week night for at least 30 minutes. Students should log the title of their book and the page numbers they read in the reading section of their agendas.

Once students finish reading a book, he or she should take an SR test. SR stands for Scholastic Reading, and it’s the reading testing, tracking, and motivation system Haywood County is using. The tests can only be taken at school.

Students in my class can read a wide variety of books, both from the Canton Middle library and from other sources as well. The only requirement is that the books should be within a student’s “lexile.” A lexile is the level at which a student is reading. We will determine everyone’s lexile within the first week or so of school. If you ever want to check what lexile a specific book is, head over to:

…to find any book’s lexile.

Online Classroom Moodle

We also have an online Language Arts classroom here at Canton Middle School. Here’s the address:

Once you’ve logged in, you can click on “Mr. B’s Language Arts Class” to see our virtual classroom. We’ll be doing lots online this year!

I hope everyone has had a great summer and that we’re all ready to get working again! If you have any questions, email is the best way to contact me. Here’s my email address:

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

D. Barkett

Our Classroom Moodle

October 6th, 2009

What do you get when you cross a cow and a poodle?

A moodle!

When you finish laughing, check out our new classroom moodle. Here’s the link:

You should have your login. Parents, if you want your child’s login, just email me at and I’ll send it to you.

Check out the book review forums and the chat and messaging capability. Remember, though, that I can see everything you post on the moodle. The moodle is simply our online classroom. If you wouldn’t say something in front of me in our class at Canton Middle, then don’t post it in our moodle.

Explore and enjoy!

Finished with our Short Story Unit

September 23rd, 2009

We’re wrapping up our first unit on short stories and the decisions our characters had to make in the stories. Often these decisions were difficult ones that helped our characters grow.

We’re finishing our artistic reflection on the short stories by drawing a conflict from one of the three stories we read. The drawings look great! I can’t wait to see the finished product.

We’ll be collaborating with our Social Studies teacher, Mr. Simmons, with a research project into historical elements and personalities. It’ll be a long project, taking us over three weeks to finish. By the end of that project, each student will have learned how to write a solid research paper with appropriate citations. Not so much fun, but very necesssary!

I hope everyone’s doing well.

Mr. B

Starting to get things moving!

August 24th, 2009

Hey everyone,

Here’s a small reminder that while I don’t assign too much homework for my students, I do expect them to be reading every night for at least 25 minutes.

Your child should ask to have his or her agenda signed every night as a way of keeping track of which students are reading at home and which ones are not. If the agenda does not get signed, your child might end up in silent lunch!

Let me know if you have any questions about this.


Mr. Barkett

Welcome Back!

August 20th, 2009

We’re back at it with another year of reading, writing, and fun at Canton Middle School!

It was so nice to see all the smiling returning faces in my classes this year. It was the last day of school last year that I found out I would be teaching many of my 7th grade students again – this time as their 8th grade teacher. What a great surprise!

Now, after seeing everyone return with a full summer’s growth, I’m more excited than ever to get class rolling. We’re going to have a great time this year, pushing our learning and thinking to the limit and getting ready for high school.

If you ever need to get a hold of me, the best way is to write me an email. Here’s my direct email address:

I check it at least once a day, and I promise I’ll respond to you within 48 hours.

Welcome back! Now let’s get to work!

Ender’s Game – Would you have chosen to go to Battle School?

October 30th, 2008

Leave me a comment answering this question:

Would you have chosen to go to Battle School?  Why or why not?


Mr. B


September 29th, 2008

Hey everybody,

I’m really excited about what we’re getting into this week.  Starting today and running all week, I’ll be working with my students to introduce an entirely new concept with teaching and online communities.  It’s called, and I think it will help my students on many different levels. is an online community that gives students a safe email address, a moderated blog, access to school-only chat rooms, and a school-only message board.  Haywood County Schools has purchased access to, and as of right now, I think my classes are the first at Canton Middle School to begin using it.

I’ll be teaching my students how to login to, how to setup their email, address book, and blog.  I’ll also be covering how to post messages on the message boards and how to leave comments on other teachers’ and students’ blogs.

As the teacher, I will have access to all students’ email and blogs, and I will be monitoring student communications to ensure that no cyber-bullying or harassment is taking place.  I will also be teaching students my online expectations in that all students should behave in our online community no differently than they would behave in our physical classrooms.

This should be an exciting week, and I look forward to working with my students on will be accessible from any computer that has internet access, so we’ll be able to build our community both during school hours and while we are at home.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email at

Thanks for coming around!

Mr. B

Those important adults in our lives…

September 23rd, 2008

Hopefully, we have all had important adults in our lives.  Often these adults are family members, and the time spent with these adults can be so transformative.  Other times, these adults are not family members, but the effect can still be powerful.

This week we’ve been reading a great little story called “Thank You, M’am” about a young man and an older woman thrown together through the young man’s bad decision to try to steal her purse.  What started as a purse-snatching gone wrong turns into one of those transformative moments that hopefully changed the young man’s life forever.

Be thankful for the adults in your life.  I know I am.

Mr. B

Nervous about the Seventh Grade?

September 11th, 2008

We spent this week talking about some of the fears and nervousness we had about starting the seventh grade.  Luckily, for most of my students, these fears have passed and we’re growing our relationships together.  But for others, we’re still having some difficult times getting used to the new building or the new routine or the new teachers.

The short story we’re reading this week, “Seventh Grade” by Gary Soto, tells the story of a young student on his first day in the seventh grade.  Gary Soto is a great author and has a nice ability to tap into the minds of our young student.  Nearly all my students could relate to the issues Victor, the main character, was dealing with.

We’ll be breaking down the story into the separate elements of fiction, applying our knowledge to the story.  Friday will be my first zinger of a test.  Hopefully my students have been doing well on all the easy grades up till now because Friday’s test will be TOUGH!

Thanks for all the comments everyone, and keep them coming!

Mr. B